I have tried a lot of vector drawing tools out there that I consider a more affordable way to get vector drawing on a Mac without have to buy Adobe Illustrator. Sketch is a new entry into the market that aims to be one of these products. The price is right, but how does it compete?
First let’s look at the features. Sketch is packed with different features including an infinite workspace. The infinite workspace allows you to create without being confined to the dimensions of a piece of paper. However, I personally don’t see much purpose to this. In the end, your image will have to confined to some dimensions. I’d rather work towards those dimensions up front instead of having to plan and adjust after I create.
One of the nicer features is Smart Symbols. I wish Adobe would take not of this one. Smart symbols works great if you have a multiple page document (also supported in the program) and have the same image on those pages. If you make that image a smart symbol changing it on one page will change it on all of the other pages. No need to copy and paste the revised image, or even worse make the changes manually on each page.
Of course, a vector drawing would not be a vector drawing program without the tools. Sketch has your standard pen tool, a brush tool, and a pencil tool. The pen tool works great. It is very smooth and easy to work with. One feature I like is the ability to press return when you want to end a line. (I wish I could do that in Illustrator.) The pencil and brush tools are smooth, but I am not a fan of the way they work. You press return when you are done drawing your shape. The shape then smooths out and renders a brush stroke (if needed). The way the brush stroke falls can effect the way you draw the line and position it. Not knowing what the final line is going to look like until after it is drawn seems to disrupt the workflow.
Other features of the program can be found here: http://bohemiancoding.com/sketch/features/.
As an Adobe Illustrator user since version 6, I have to say I compare every vector drawing program to Illustrator and what I consider its ease of use when drawing. When I compare Sketch to Illustrator I have to say I was very disappointed. I found the program to be very confusing and my workflow was not smooth at all (as I mentioned with the pen tool). Whenever I wanted to draw a new vector shape I had to reselect the tool for the options and draw a new shape instead of finishing a shape and getting right to drawing another one.
It seemed like everything works that way. You draw a shape first and then add colors, etc. after the fact by having to click another tool. It was not smooth and efficient at all.
The price of Sketch makes it very affordable and attractive for a vector drawing tool without buying Illustrator. However, there are several other programs out there in this price range that I think could be a better option.
MyMac.com rating: 6 out of 10